I recently regaled you with the sorry saga of my recent encounter with a local estate agent during our quest to purchase a buy to let property.
Firstly, thank you to everyone who responded with insights, ideas, thoughts and suitable properties for our consideration – what great reactive and pro-active work from you – thank you for taking the time to contact me.
Secondly, I am genuinely sad to report that the whole buy to let debacle continued to unfold (and not in a good way) when the estate agent in question finally got in touch by email.
To be honest, by the time this happened, I wasn’t particularly interested in their email as we had already viewed the property on their website. But I was even more disinclined to open the correspondence, mostly because the email subject line was a nonsensical combination of reference numbers and letters – so it was hardly enticing to open and it didn’t really pique my interest.
My husband though, well he spotted the email and opened it anyway, just to see if there was any extra information in the particulars that we had missed.
And this is when an incident happened that was even more shocking than the appalling attitude of the sales negotiator!
I know. You would have thought it would be impossible to top that, right?
Trust me. I could give you a million tries and you would never guess what my husband saw when he opened the email.
Instead of emailing the property particulars, the agent had very kindly attached (with no cover letter) for our perusal…
The entire contract between the vendor and the agent.
- Personal details including name, address and mobile phone number
- Negotiated fee for the instruction
- Date and length of the contract
- Visible signature of the vendor
Erm, hello! GDPR anyone?
So, obviously we read it. Who wouldn’t? So once again, I have questions!
- How many other people were sent a similar email?
- Did it go out to the agent’s entire database?
- Imagine if this had fallen into the hands of a competitor or unscrupulous person?
- What the hell was the sender of the email even thinking?
- Did he not double check the content before pressing send?
I mean, you couldn’t make it up could you.
If I was the vendor and I discovered my personal data had been compromised in this way, I would be absolutely beyond livid.
Mistakes happen, I get it. But on top of this, when the agent was advised of the error, the level of unconcern was astonishing.
I have never heard louder alarm bells ringing than with this agent and I won’t be using them or recommending them due to their sheer unprofessionalism.
So, you see, this is how important your reputation is, and do you also see how easily it can all unravel before your very eyes?
Before our thankfully short-lived, dealings with this agent, they might have had the most unblemished history of all time. But how would we as prospective clients know that? All we have to work with is two full weeks of total incompetence.
Perhaps if we had been able to ascertain that the agent had a great reputation in the area, from positive reviews, knowledgeable content and good visibility online, we may just have put this down to a hugely embarrassing error. But with nothing to go on, this unfortunately is now an agent we will avoid.
Your reputation is so fragile.
It’s even more fragile if you don’t engage with your local community and establish yourself as the go-to expert estate agent in your area.
Don’t be lazy. That goes for your staff training, your reputation and your content!
I’m afraid I can’t help you with staff training, but I can help you build your reputation through engaging and interesting content.
Give me a shout, or take the offer of a free article here.